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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
Trackside app running on Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro allows drivers and crews to quickly analyze and improve performance on the go.
REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) - a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. that serves as the North American racing arm for design, development and assembly of Toyota's factory racing engines and chassis - worked with Microsoft Corp. to design a touch-enabled app for Windows 8 as the centerpiece of a new strategy to improve the performance of the Toyota teams competing in NASCAR. When drivers, crew chiefs and team engineers expressed the need for a more mobile computing platform to monitor real-time performance data, TRD answered with the Windows 8 Trackside app running on Surface Pro hardware.
During practice, drivers and crew chiefs previously had to record racing performance data with software on a laptop, or even with pencil and paper, requiring drivers to get out of their race cars to view information about the car's performance, as well as to explain what was happening on the track.
"Microsoft is excited to work with TRD to design and architect a mobile platform on Windows 8 for Toyota's NASCAR race teams," said Jason Campbell, group product marketing manager at Microsoft. "The Trackside app for Windows 8 on Surface Pro allows TRD to spend more time driving and less time in the garage reviewing performance data, with a touch-based mobile tablet that can go from portable note taker to a high-performance monitor in less time than it takes to change even one tire."
Now with the Windows 8 Trackside app and Surface Pro, the race team can efficiently capture performance data through the touch-based app and share it with the crew in real time, enabling mechanics to immediately get to work fine-tuning the race car for enhanced performance. Trackside also offers touch-enabled data that gives the crew chief and driver insight and analysis on timing and scoring data versus competitors, allowing a team to determine if the right adjustments have been made to the car or what adjustments may need to be made.
"Trackside running on Surface Pro means more time is spent on the track and less time is spent talking," said Steve Wickham, TRD's vice president of chassis operations. "Teams are back on the track faster, allowing them more time to determine the optimum setup for the race car. Our mission is to take advantage of the latest innovation in technology to quickly get better data - which translates into faster cars on the track."
Since 2007, TRD has been developing racing software on the Windows platform for teams to analyze and improve performance, enabling Toyota race teams to be frequent visitors to victory lane and annually compete for series championships. TRD differentiates itself within the hypercompetitive racing business through technology innovation. Today, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard is one of the first Toyota teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series to use the new Trackside solution.
"For Toyota teams to finish first on the track, we must also be the first to innovate our technologies behind the scenes," said Darren Jones, group lead for software development at TRD. "We chose Windows 8 because we get enterprise-ready security and management, the familiarity of the Windows development environment, and a fully capable touch-enabled interface."
When it came to choosing a device, TRD wanted a high-performance, lightweight, touch-enabled computer to complement the fast-paced environment at the race track. Several tablets were tested during the pilot phase, but Surface Pro was ultimately chosen because it delivered the power and performance of a laptop PC in a tablet package, as well as the hardware benefits of its unique Touch Covers and durable VaporMg chassis to protect the tablet from hazardous track environments. Surface Pro allows drivers and crew to use the device as a tablet or laptop, and its excellent screen visibility in outdoor lighting is essential when working at the race track.
"Working together with TRD and Microsoft, RAB Racing tested the Windows 8 Trackside app at the end of last season and found it to be an extremely useful tool for our organization," said Robbie Benton, owner, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. "This year with a rookie driver Alex Bowman, we need to get him as much time as possible on the race track to make sure we prepare good race cars for him. The Trackside app will help us accomplish both of those goals, and help our race team be better."